Day Hikes: Sleeping Giant Awakens the Hiker Within

Hamden park offers day trippers a myriad of trails, vistas and views as they traverse to the tower at the top.

For those who love the great outdoors, Connecticut offers a wide variety of natural wonders: from its beautiful beaches along the Long Island Sound to its rolling green hills that line the landscape of the northwest corner.

And there is no shortage of state parks, forests and open spaces to hike. Perhaps one of the most well known areas in the state for hiking is Sleeping Giant State Park.

Tucked into the corner of Hamden, and directly across the street from Quinnipiac University, the park offers hikers of all ages and abilities some 30 miles of trails, of varying difficulty and terrain, to trek.

Of course, everyone who has hiked along the Mount Carmel mountain — which was given its nickname "Sleeping Giant" because it does, indeed, look like a sleeping man from afar — knows that the real payoff of hiking to the top of the mountain comes from the beautiful 360-degree vista of the valley below when standing atop the stone lookout tower.

The park is open year round, from 8 a.m. to dusk. And is maintained and managed by the state and the Sleeping Giant Park Association.

For a list of upcoming organized hikes at Sleeping Giant, visit the association's calendar here. And for a good pre-trek primer of general hiking tips, check out this  of basic do's and don'ts.

Happy hiking!

Greg Kuehn September 24, 2011 at 12:04 PM
Ack! You beat me out, posting about this GEM of a park. I've only done the hike to the tower and I love everything about it. Nice steady, wide, uphill trail all the way to the top. Not too steep, nothing particularly technical, and not a very long hike either. Just enjoyable views in every direction. This is a must-do if you haven't been here. I'm looking forward to getting back and exploring the rest of the park.
Kebab September 24, 2011 at 04:14 PM
I am attending Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT which is literally right next to the giant. I get to look at this beautiful mountain of a park everyday as I walk around campus. I am lucky that it is so close and have been taking advantage of this park everyweekend. There are many exciting trails but one I favor in particular is the VIOLET trail. A trail that go around the head of the giant and has a straight hike up to the top. There are many great views, especially of my campus, but you can see as far as New Haven and one a clear day Long Island. The real reason why i love this trail is because there is a swimming hole, with a 12ft rock to jump off of, that me and my friends will always go to after our hikes. I highly recomend hiking the Giant for there are many suprises that you will find


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